Friday, February 26, 2010

An Open Letter to Theatre Patrons

The theatre is not a movie theatre, the theatre is not your living room. The same for the ballet and the seeing the Rockette's at Radio City Music Hall.

It's great that with so many shows and ticket at multiple price points the theatre is available to the masses, unfortunately the masses can be rude and sloppy.

When you go to a show don't wear jeans and sneakers. It looks bad and it is insulting to the performers and the guests that are dressed appropriately. A simple pair of black pants and dark shoes are perfect suitable and they take less room than a pair of low rise faded jeans and a pair of Ugg boots in your suitcase.

Just because they sell food during intermission doesn't mean you should eat during the performance. No matter how quiet you think you are opening your bag of candy (yes, I mean you in the Mezzanine row B, about seat 12 moved down from the higher rows during intermission at the Phantom performance on 2/25) every person around you can hear that crinkling bag and it is distracting and rude. Save the snack for a delightful treat post-show.

If you can't live without texting, tweeting, checking your messages for 90 minutes at a time - don't go. Even if your phone doesn't ring the bright light of the screen is annoying to the guests seated near you. (And this time I am talking to the young woman in the Mezzanine Row A seat 4 Phantom performance on 2/25 - guess what the light from your phone screen was annoying and I could see it every time you pulled it out from your JEANS pocket.) If you find the show so boring or your life outside of the theatre is so important you can't turn your phone completely off and leave it off for the duration of the show - DON'T GO. Save yourself, your parents, your friends the money and sit in a coffee shop sipping a frappa-mocha-latte-chino while they and everyone else that would have been sitting around you enjoy the show.

(As a side note one of the funnier moments at a show has to do with a patron and a cell phone. I can't remember the performance, I think it was "Curtains" but it could have been "Boeing, Boeing, Boeing". A husband and wife were seated across the aisle from me. Based on the jeans, sneakers, and shopping bags they were tourists. During the show the wife's cell phone rang. Of course it was some loud obnoxious ring that wouldn't stop until she fumbled through her purse and turned off her phone. Her husband gave her such a nasty look - he was embarrassed and furious all at the same time. Well don't worry he got served a big piece of humble pie. In about 15 minutes HIS cell phone rang! What a moron - you would think he would have checked his cell phone the minute his wife's phone rang, apparently not. His wife gave him the best smug filled smile I have even seen. It would have been really funny if only they hadn't distracted me from the performance - twice!)"

Even if the venue allows photography - don't do it. Put away the camera, put down the digital camera sit back and enjoy the show and every person sitting around you will enjoy the show as well. The photos and movies you take of the stage are going to look horrible. You don't have professional equipment and the lighting is terrible. If you really want to capture the memory, buy the DVD, buy the program, buy the soundtrack - the quality will surpass anything you can do sitting in your seat. If the venue requests no flash photography, TURN OFF your flash. The bright light is distracting to the guests seated around you and potentially harmful to those on stage. Put away your video camera, your dark and shaky image will not do justice to the spectacular on stage and you will enjoy the show more if you are focused solely on the performance. Your video screen is bright and that coupled with your raised arm are enough to upset even the most mild mannered theatre goer. (This is dedicated to the people sitting in front of us at the Rockette show in Dec.)

If you are lucky enough to see a show treat the event with dignity it deserves. Respect the venue and those around you and everyone will have the opportunity enjoy the performance.

Rant for the day

Why can't log out buttons on web pages all be in the same place?

I get so irritated when I have to search for the log out/sign out button. It's like the web designers make it hard to find on purpose so you spend more time on the page. Grrr.

Yes, it's one of those days. I feel a couple of open letters in me as well.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Runner's Log 2.21.10

I tried to keep up my training schedule as best as possible in Vermont.

They had a fabulous gym in our hotel (pictured below), but with so many other things to do it was hard to be focused.

I did work out in the gym once over the weekend and I count tubing as cross-training; dragging your tube up a hill is hard work!

I went in to this week a day behind and facing an 8 mile run yesterday.

As of yesterday it is exactly 4 weeks until the 1/2 marathon. I made the decision no more travel until the race and I gave up alcohol for Lent. The next 4 weeks are going to be all about training.

Yesterday was a big day, an 8 mile run. It was a beautiful day - sunny and warm. OK, for all of you in CA it was 40 degrees but that is warm for us and probably close to the temps on race day. I really needed to get in an outside run. I needed to get in practice on hills and see if I fixed my previous wardrobe issues.

I downloaded a runner's map of Central Park. If I ran the entire loop of Park Drive that was 6 miles. Next I used MapQuest to calculate the distance from our apartment to the park: 1 mile. It worked out really well, if I ran to the park, did the entire loop, and ran back that would be my 8 mile.

I really was comfy on the couch and I just didn't want to do the run outside. Luckily Michael was there to really push me and get me out the door. Even though it would be under pace, I gave myself 2 hours for the run. I was more concerned about finishing the distance than making good time.

It was hard getting to the park, crowded sidewalks, traffic lights, and a slight uphill grade the entire way. I jogged some and walked some. I hit the park and went north on Park Drive. I wanted to hit the Great Hill while I was still fresh. The Great Hill is the steepest hill in the park, it has the sharpest uphill grade but it is the shortest hill - there are a ton of hills in the park and all of them are pretty tough. The park was packed, half of the city was out walking, running, cycling, roller blading - at least when I was jogging I was passing the walkers.

It was rough going - my legs weren't getting tired but I was getting out of breath. I would jog and try to push myself a little further but then I would have to walk. I just kept thinking in my head, just finish the distance. Luckily along with the uphills there are downhills too, at least something to get me started at a jog after an uphill.

I didn't wear a watch but I have my iPod loaded with a particular set of songs that is just shy of an hour. I don't know the exact time at each song but I know when I'm getting close to the end. I also didn't know the exact miles as I was going around the park but I had an idea in my head of where I was and how much farther I had left to run. As I hit an hour on the set list I was thinking I was more than halfway done with the park loop - this was very encouraging. I started the play list again and kept going. Finally I was headed north, up towards the gate at 90th St. I passed the 72nd St transverse and all I could think was 2 more miles (20 blocks/1 mile to exit the park and then 1 mile home).

At last The Met was in my sights, that meant just a 1/2 mile to exit the park. At that point I was very motivated and I finished the park loop and the mile home jogging the entire way. I knew by my set list I was under 2 hours and I really wanted to get home and check my time. I really wanted to complete the run in under two hours.

I did the 8 miles in 1 hour 45 minutes! Yay! That works out to 13 min 8 seconds a mile - below sweep pace. I'm really encouraged. I worked out my wardrobe issues - except for the socks. I need to get some different socks but it was a great day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Where's Beckham?

He managed to find a nice high sleeping spot on top of the living room bookshelf.

Of course I woke him up when I started taking photos - but then he was so tired he curled back down and fell asleep. He is so cute when he is sleeping!

Plan B

Even though it was a snow day yesterday Michael worked really hard to come up with alternate plans for the weekend. The cat sitter was already booked, why let that go to waste!

We are taking the train up to Burlington, VT this morning. We're staying at this cute resort hotel that has a huge fabulous spa, cooking classes, and lots of snow activities. Saturday night they will have a bon fire and we can make s'mores. He also found a ski run in the area that features tubing; you hook your tube to a tow rope that hauls you up the mountain and then you get to slide down on your tube. All the fun and not too much work.

And it's Vermont so there are sugar and cheese farms, craft stores, and outlet malls in abundance. We'll have a great weekend just without the Guinness!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sebastian was incorrect

Aer Lingus cancelled our flight today. We can't get rebooked until Feb. 12th.

Trip cancelled.

Where's Beckham?

And just because we need a picture on the blog - how about a new post in the ongoing series: Where's Beckham?

He's all the way under the couch blanket with just the tip of his tail sticking out - goofball!

Winter Storm Warning Cancelled

Now it's a Blizzard Warning!

It is definitely snowing this morning. The flakes are coming down fast and furious, the wind is blowing, and there is snow accumulation. cancelled their winter storm warning and upgraded to a blizzard warning:


The good news is, according to one of our building security team, because our flight leaves so late (8:45pm) we have nothing to worry about. He said the snow will stop by mid-day and they will have the runways clear by that time of night. Based on that bit of good news I am going about my day business as usual. The crazy thing is he may be totally correct. When I got up just after 7am you could see the flakes swirling around. It is almost 8am now and the wind had died down, visibility has increased, and the flakes are falling much more gently.

Of course I am totally behind and I don't even have a pack list yet. I'm going to try and do just a carry-on bag. But I think I should bring an extra bag in case I find something I just have to bring home.

Runner's Log 2.9.10

4.5 miles in 59 minutes last night - that's about 20 seconds per mile below sweep pace. Yay!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Anthropologie Spring Windows 2010

Redefining 'going green' - Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center puts together some of my favorite window displays. They are inventive and playful and they always use everyday materials to make a clever display. This spring is no exception, the windows are alive with color and flowers - a welcome sight on a cold winter day.

Looking more closely the flowers are made of plastic water and soda bottles! They have been cut and colored and transformed from trash to spring flowers. The photo below is a close up of the spray of flowers in the photo above.

Front view of another window display:

And close up from the back of the display (or inside the store):

The clothes all mix in well with the display too - great merchandising.

Look at a close up of the skirt in the photo above - the print is so fun and happy. I love it but I know I would never wear it (yes those are blue and pink monkeys).

The props add to the overall design as well - the spray of flowers coming out of the huge faucet is just fabulous.

And this cart full of oversize blossoms is so cheerful.

Thanks for brightening up my winter Anthropologie. Oh and thanks for the great sale room too because next to the window displays nothing perks me up like a great deal on a fantastic frock.

My Toes Are Ready for Ireland!

I haven't started packing but my feet are ready to visit Dublin.

Mani/Pedi crossed off the list last night. Don't worry, my fingernails are not green.
We were just checking the weather and it doesn't look good for travel. Here is the latest Storm Warning:
We're supposed to fly out of JFK Wednesday night - hopefully the weather guessers are wrong again. We have trip insurance and we are covered for weather delays; it's just one of those things that you have but don't want to actually use.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Oh La La

Fresh new bob from the Vidal Sassoon Salon!

Goodbye shaggy flippy messy ends - hello sleek new cut.

I won my office Superbowl Pool!

Awesome - I swept the office pool this year!

Hee - just some Monday morning humor. At least I can crack myself up!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Runner's Log 2.5.10

4 miles ahead of sweep pace today - awesome! (For those of you that watch "How I Met Your Mother" that should be said in the Barney voice.)

Yesterday I did a Pilate's workout before I ran. I counted it as my strength training as it really works your core. Anyway, I had a horrible run and just did a mile on the treadmill. There are just some days you know you are off. I counted yesterday as my optional "light run" for today and did my 4 miles today. Easy peazy!

Sunday is going to be 7 miles and I want to try and run it outside - we'll see how that goes.....

The Sleeping Beauty at the New York City Ballet

Last night I saw "The Sleeping Beauty" performed by the New York City Ballet. I enjoyed The Nutcracker so much I was excited to go back and see this classic fairytale. And even better, because I purchased a ticket for the Nutcracker I received an e-mail offer for a 20% discount on a ticket for The Sleeping Beauty. Yay for cheap seats to the ballet!
The show was spectacular. The costumes, the sets, the music, the dancing it was all amazing. The sets were very elaborate as were the costumes. The tutus were covered in appliques and crystals - they were breathtaking.
I arrived at the theatre early which allowed me time to enjoy the splendor of Lincoln Center. It is a group of buildings that surround a large central plaza featuring a water fountain.

All of the theatres have huge sparkling chandeliers and grand entrances. It is a lovely place to see a performance of the ballet, symphony, or opera.
Inside the theatre the second floor has a wide open promenade. In the middle is a round champagne bar. During intermission the pop of the cork was a frequent sound.
The gift shop (really counter) is also on the second floor. It is quite enterprising as they sell used ballet slippers from troupe members. Depending on the level of the dancer the prices go from $5 to $50. They were selling the practice slippers of the girl playing 'Aurora' that night; according to the very chatty women behind the counter it was her debut. (She did very well. Aurora must be a very hard role to dance - there is lots of time up on your toes and tons of spins.) For a friend with little ballerina nieces I purchased two pairs of pink slippers.

I chose the pair on the left because it was signed in purple - what little girl doesn't like purple? I chose the pair on the right because the dancer signed them "Love" and then her name - how cute is that?! While the pair on the left might look huge it is a size 5.5, the pair on the right is a size 4. The 5.5 was one of the larger pairs available for sale - these girls have tiny feet. How do those little toes support them so well? The ballerinas are so lean and muscular, makes me think I need to look in to the ballet workout. The woman selling the shoes was so excited. She told me one of the girls was on stage "dancing her heart out" and she pulled out a book and showed me pictures of both girls. She was also sure to tell me I could go on to the website and see photos of the girls and read about their training. She was such a proud volunteer - it actually made me look at the volunteer opportunities on the website this morning. It is a little bit of a pain to get to Lincoln Center but it would be fun to work the events.

And in case you were wondering what I wore.....I was able to wear the dress I bought for New Year's Eve. At the last minute we decided to dress casual for New Year's so the party dress stayed in the closet. (Bex and I went shopping to find her a party dress before Christmas - of course she didn't find any dresses and I bought two!) It was comfortable and appropriate and the usher told me it was beautiful.

It was a wonderful night until I was leaving my seat after the performance. The girl next to me kind of hit me with her coat (it was no big deal), after which she told me "sorry ma'am". Ma'am! I'm no ma'am! Sigh.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Runner's Log

I've been sticking to my training schedule and logging in the miles but I'm still not at the non-sweep pace.

Wednesday is always the short run day (2 miles - who knew that in just a matter of weeks I would consider 2 miles as "short" and "easy"). Yesterday I decided to really push my time and pick up the pace. Success! I did my 2 miles in 25 min and 20 sec - putting me about 1 minute per mile under the non-sweep pace. Now I just have to work on endurance at that pace.

Thursdays are always a tough day. It is always a longer run and a strength training session. The long run today is 4 miles; it increases every two weeks. Sundays are the really long run days - more miles that anything during the week. I'm supposed to do a 5K race this Sunday and 7 miles next Sunday. I'm thinking I should do the 7 miles this Sunday just in case I can't get it in when we are in Dublin. And I really need to get outside and hit the pavement. So many things on the need to do list - I think I will sit and dwell on my small accomplishment yesterday before I worry about the workout today.


Acclimatization or acclimation is the process of an organism adjusting to change in its environment, allowing it to survive changes in temperature, water and food availability, other stresses and often relates to seasonal weather changes (or in our case the dreaded time change).
(Thanks Wikipedia.)

In an effort to prepare ourselves for the 5 hour time change in Dublin we have been trying to adjust our sleep schedule. Much like travelling from the West Coast to the East Coast if you are used to getting up early and going to bed early it is easier for you to adapt from PST to EST.

We have been trying to go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. It's rough - but Michael has been getting to work early and today he hit the gym before work. And what have I been doing with my extra hour or two each morning you posts!

The cats have been on a later schedule too, when Michael gets up before 7 they are all still asleep. Of course they wake up pretty quickly and remind me it is time to feed them breakfast.

We're headed to Dublin next Wednesday and staying through Monday 2/15. I think the weather will be similar to NYC but I need to start looking at the temps so I can work on my pack list. Of course I'll be relying on my Uniqlo Ultra Light Weight Down jacket and heat tech to keep me warm.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

And Another Thing

about my recent trip to ATL (apparently I just can't stop talking about it).

I used an eBoarding Pass for the flight.

I'm sure this isn't new technology to people who fly quite a bit - but it was new to me.
When I checked in on-line with Delta I could select to print a boarding pass or to use an eBoarding pass. I selected the eBoarding pass option - I hate having to print at home and I think we are out of paper anyway. In just a few minutes I received a text message with my flight, seat, gate, and boarding zone information and a curious box with a strange pattern at the very top.

As it turns out, this box is what is scanned by TSA before going in to security and the flight crew at boarding time. I just handed them my device and it went under a scanner and as soon as the information was read I was on my way.

Of course the first time I used it at LGA I was sure it wasn't going to work. I went to the check-in counter first just to make sure all I needed to do was show TSA my Blackberry. They said it should work but they printed me a boarding pass just in case there was a problem. They were pretty funny - they said "show them your Blackberry first to see if it works, only pull out the paper boarding pass if they try to send you back to the counter". They wanted to see if the system was working.

I got up to the front the security line where they check your ID and Blackberry - I handed the TSA agent my Blackberry and ID. She didn't even bat an eye. She scanned my device, checked my ID and that was that. When I boarded the plane they held my device under the bar code reader and again no problem.

What a great way to travel, so easy plus it made me feel oh so tech savvy!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Visiting the Gingerbread Man

I took the gum paste flower class at the International School of Confectionary and Sugar Arts. The school has three main areas, the store and gallery, the classroom, and the dining room. Each area has a themed bathroom.

The dining room and it's bathroom are decorated in a loose Tuscan theme.

The classroom has the Cupcake bathroom. It is all pink and brown and has cupcake ornaments, pink striped grosgrain ribbon around the tops of the walls, and a small pink beaded chandelier.

But my favorite bathroom was in the store and gallery area - it was the Gingerbread bathroom. I meant to take photos of all three bathrooms because they were really cute, but I only remembered to get photos of my favorite.

Below is the sign on the door - yes it is a baking sheet and above it is a spatula and a cookie cutter.

The walls were painted a perfect gingerbread cookie brown. The mirror was set in to a cookie sheet and had a rolling pin at the bottom. There were cooling racks on the walls with faux cookies. It was all just so cute. The sink had a gingham curtain and the light was covered with a wire colander.

And the very best part - the shelf with jars containing Sugar, Spice, and All Things Nice!

Monday, February 01, 2010

What I Did During Winter Break

Who says you don't get summer vacation and winter break when you leave school - you just have to know how to plan.

Last week I was in Atlanta taking a 5 day intensive course on making gum paste flowers. It was like camp for kids who like to bake and craft and like flowers too - really it was KO heaven.

I had never worked with gum paste before but my friend from Seattle asked if I would be interested in taking the class with her. It was one of those days and I was in one of those moods so I said sure. Two months later I was in a class room trying to figure out how to roll this little ball of white sugar dough in to a carnation bud.

The class was taught by Nicolas Lodge (pictured below with the K's - Karen on the left and Kristin on the right).

I didn't check out his credentials, but Karen had assured me he was the best. As it turns out he is a world renown cake decorator. He even made one of the official cakes for the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. He was an amazing teacher. He started us off with simple techniques, very helpful to those of us who had not worked with gum paste previously. And as our confidence and skill grew he moved on to more complicated techniques.

On the first day we made small buds and small flowers.

And then moved on to larger parts - the centers for orchids and gardenias and Gerber daisies with delicate petals.

Once all of the petals were formed and dried we assembled and colored the flowers. What a difference a little bit of edible food dye can make!

Hydrangea blossoms ready to be grouped and wired together.

A completed daisy, Dendrobium orchid, sweet pea, lily of the valley , stephanotis, Cattleya orchid, and a rose bud.

And a full size calla lily.

The shading on the Cymbidium orchid was intricate but it turned out so beautiful.

With just 16 people in the class we had so much personal attention from Nicolas and his teaching assistant Emily.

Emily was great. Until recently she was an intern at a popular bakery. One day at lunch she shared a few photos of her cakes. One was shaped like a Louis Vuitton trunk. She couldn't find a stencil to make the signature LV design so she hand painted it - it was incredible, it looked exactly like a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk.

And everyday we were served a hot home made lunch and fresh baked cookies in the afternoon by Scott.

I'm sure they figured out it was easier and quicker to serve lunch as part of the class - but it was really nice to not have to worry about finding somewhere to eat and the students got to chat for a few minutes while eating.

I shipped some flowers home but hand carried a few of the more delicate blooms on the airplane. I did my best to get a few portrait shots of the flowers I brought home (yes these are all made out of sugar and they are edible but probably wouldn't taste great).

Gerber daisy:


Cattleya orchid:


And of top of all of that Karen and I were able to catch up with a dear friend from MBA school. We went to dinner one night and stayed until they kicked us out of the restaurant.

And the last day we were in town she took us on a private tour of the Georgia Aquarium (she volunteers at the aquarium on the weekends).
The set up at the aquarium is amazing - lots of interactive displays, huge tank walls so you can bbeasily see the fish. We didn't get to spend enough time there - luckily I know someone that likes to visit Atlanta to see his Braves play so I can't wait to go back.
The aquarium has the only two whale sharks in captivity. They were sick and the aquarium took them in to nurse them back to health. The aquarium doesn't seek specimens, they only take in animals that have been injured or need to be rescued.

Jelly fish!

And I can't remember the name but it was funny, something like the Turkey Dragon fish.

Of course back to work this week. Some of my co-workers know what I was up to so I get to do some 'show and tell'. I'm sure they all think I am crazy. Now I just need to figure out how to incorporate what I've learned in to a spectacular Mother's Day Tea showpiece!